The Jasper City Council met in regular session on Monday evening and approved a smaller budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and they also heard from a police captain who apologized for a statement he made on social media.
The budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year has been adopted by Council at $26,884,748.00, which is $282,096.00 less than the current budget. Council also adopted a tax rate of .3579, the same as the previous year.
City leaders heard a report from Public Works Director Greg Kelly who told them that about 30 feet of an old sewer main line had collapsed, and the city needs to replace it as quickly as possible. Kelly said the collapse occurred underneath Highway 96 just south of Highway 190, and he said the old sewer line had been in place since the 1930’s. Council unanimously approved the immediate replacement of the line at a cost of about $85,000.00.
Council also heard from City Manager Denise Kelley who expressed a desire to explore the possibility of the city designing and constructing a building that could serve not only as a larger venue for City Council meetings, but also for use during emergencies. Kelley explained that such a building should have facilities that could accommodate workers and others during emergencies, such as sleeping, showers, and food preparation.
Council agreed and approved Kelley to begin studying the feasibility of such a facility.
Additionally, Council has approved the purchase of a new command truck for the Jasper Fire Department. The department’s command truck was knocked out of commission when it was involved in a recent accident at an accident scene. According to Fire Marshal Brandon Duckworth, the purchase will be made from Center Motor Company in the amount of $45,987.00.
Early on during the meeting, Council was addressed by Police Chief Gerald Hall who explained that Captain Mike Poindexter had posted a statement on social media which had angered certain people, and Hall apologized. Then Poindexter himself stood before Council and apologized.
Poindexter, exercising his First Amendment Constitutional right to freedom of speech, posted on Facebook the statement “Screw BLM” during a discussion about the ambush shooting of two Los Angeles County, California deputies as they sat in their patrol car.